back to article eBay employee 'torpedos' fraud trial

This story was updated on Friday 26th October 2007 16:59 GMT to add comment from eBay public relations. The trial of a UK man suspected of defrauding eBay users was scuttled after an employee for the online auction house abruptly left the island before offering key testimony. According to the Herald Express, eBay employee …


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  1. Morely Dotes
    Thumb Down

    eBay fraud is more the rule than the exception

    I purchased a small computer part on 20 September. With shipping, the amount was about US$13. I paid by bank money order and the seller marked it "paid" on 22 September.

    I have not received the item. The seller claims it was "shipped and returned." eBay has not addressed the dispute which I opened on 22 October.

    If I have not received satisfaction by 22 November, I shall file a claim against the money order (with the bank) for fraud, and report eBay to the State Attorney General for conspiracy to commit postal fraud. they can out the seller, or not; I don't care.

  2. D.A.


    Last time I looked, both Exeter and Belfast were in the UK...

  3. DrXym

    EBay really don't seem to care that much about fraud

    eBay could do a lot more to stop fraud.

    An example I'm personally familiar with is memory stick cards. I bought a 4Gb card which turned out to be a fake. The seller had a good reputation but the card was a phony. I found out when I tried to copy 4Gb of stuff to it and it broke at 256Mb. The sad thing is that people don't bother with this simple test and so these conmen build up a good reputation. It takes a good while until the complaints catch up. Then eBay belatedly shut them down but not before they've opened another store.

    I expect fraud is so rampant in certain types of item such as memory sticks that eBay should really tack a big warning notice to every sale informing bidders how to tell bogus items, how to report frauds etc. Winning bidders should be reminded of this info a week or two afterwards as well. Anything to force these stores to be shut down sooner than they've been able to get away with so far.

    Some kinds of auctions should be banned entirely. Search for "wholesale list" and witness the utterly deceptive practices used. You will see hundreds of items that at first glance appear to be selling TVs, laptops, trampolines etc. for cents. But they're not, they're tagging their wholesale list with a picture of those items but your buying a worthless email. eBay could effectively snuff out this scam by banning pictures and confining wholesale lists to a text only section with strict rules on the sale.

    Do they do this? Nope. And that's just two examples. I'm sure there are many more. eBay could be doing a lot more to stamp on fraud and the fact they don't gives the appearance that they really don't care that much unless it's reported to the police.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Typical... nothing turns up via ebay!

    Marvelous isn't it... ebay blah.. blah about fraud protection and we look after you and they can't be bothered to turn up at the trail. Like alot of things on eBay... you order it and it doesn't bloody turn up.

  5. Mort Coleman

    I lost 560.00 to fraud, ebay, gave me 75.00 to ease my pain.

    They don't help what-so-ever, they did not call the police, issue warrents, or anything, though they knew the names and addresses of the sellers.

  6. Ian Ferguson
    Thumb Down

    Don't use eBay

    I've not used eBay for a year now and highly recommend nobody else does. You might get a couple of bargains on there, but then you WILL be defrauded, no matter how careful you are.

    Me - I lost £300 when selling a phone, and eBay/PayPal had the audacity to assume that *I* was the fraudster when I made the complaint, as I was the seller. £300 out of pocket, eBay/PayPal accounts terminated, and the worst customer service I have EVER experienced bar none.

    I'm surprised eBay and PayPal are even legal, frankly, the problem with fraud has reached epic proportions. I'd trust an email from a Nigerian asking if I can transfer a million pounds more than I trust eBay.

  7. Graeme Hart

    Time someone taught these half wits a lesson

    No, I'm talking about the lawyers and judges - not Ebay.

    If this guy came in on Sunday it was because he was told he would be required on Monday. I can totally understand him getting annoyed and deciding to piss off after two days waiting.

    I work with a guy that had to give evidence in a trial like this, the idiots that run the legal system expect you to sit around on your ass until they are ready to ask you stupid questions.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    typical ebay business practice

    As long as they get their listing fee and final value fee they are not interested in doing anything about fraud. Tens of 1000s of fraudulent, fake, misrepresented items are on sale now. Hurry, go and bid so you can make a scammer and eBay shareholders richer.

  9. Bob Barker

    eBay fraud

    I've been an avid ebay-er since 2004-ish. I havent bought any expensive electronics or gadgets etc. Most expensive thing I've bought is a refurbished iPod so that I could break its insides and see how it worked etc. A side project for a class of mine. Apart from that, all other transactions have gone on hitchless.

    Hence, it comes to me as a surprise that so many people have been frauded on that site. I've been tempted to buy electronics though, especially memory sticks/flash drives but then I thought "If i happen to get a wrong amount of memory, I have no way of proving my case that I havent switched it out with a smaller memory size and am now complaining to make a profit.". This point alone has kept me from bidding on stuff like that.

    Maybe Im being cautious but the last thing I want to do in an age such as ours is send money to someone who I know off the internet.

  10. Mark

    Amazon are not much better

    The Amazon 'marketplace' seems to be as full of fake memory stick/flash cards and who knows what else as ebay, and Amazon seem to have just as little interest in cleaning it up as ebay. If you do buy a card from these clowns, find the serial number and stick it into google, chances are if its a fake it'll appear on a forum post.

  11. Anonymous Coward

    Right well it's ebay

    The only people I ever met that sell on ebay got busted for stealing phones and ipods from major retailers to sell there they got caught in the act but as far as I know never got any grief from ebay slimy light fingered teenagers and more con men than you can shake a mouse at. I wouldn't buy anything off the site.

  12. atouk
    Thumb Down

    A bit more skeptical

    My gut tells me there's more to it than just impatience. If he was there to testify, I'm sure he was on the line with eBay legal at least once a day, and wouldn't leave without their say so. Plus I'd bet money that all ticketing is done through the eBay travel department.

    Approval would be needed, if not direct instructions to hop a plane.

    Did someone worry that if he was to testify it may set a precedent that would require representatives hopping all over the globe to get sworn in. Or maybe someone decided that they didn't want "on the record" testimony that could come back and bite them in the ass someday.

  13. Jeremy

    Given that he's still in the UK... probably wouldn't be that difficult to put in a call to the nice chaps at the PSNI, get them to pay him a friendly visit, arrest the bugger and send him back to court to give his testimony, would it?

  14. Peter Wood
    Thumb Down

    e-Bay ripoffs

    I was shafted out of $2500.00 by a scammer in Britain and e-Bay was absolutely no help whatsoever. They even restored the theif's account to him until I complained he was running the same racket again!

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  16. Anonymous Coward

    If eBay were a P2P network they would be shut down ?

    Strange, on one side the Record industry are trying to shut down P2P networks as some users choose to do illegal things on it.

    If the same was to follow, should eBay be closed down as some users choose to be be bad boys and girls.

    What next, close the road network as this would stop people speeding.

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Stupid judge

    To even consider diverting a full plane load of passengers for a witness who turned on a voluntary basis is complete stupidity.

  18. Anonymous Coward


    Nah, the PSNI wouldn't pick him up. They are too busy harrassing teachers who talk in the "leprachaun language".

  19. This post has been deleted by its author

  20. Anonymous Coward


    Arrest a voluntary witness?

    It's bad enough being arrested as an involuntary witness.

    The Judge's thoughts on turning the plane around remind me of Doctors.

    "last month we had 213 people didn't turn up for an appointment".

    What they didnt say was that "we, the Dr's didnt turn up on time for the other 1637 appointments that month either "

    Which is odd considering the 213 vacant appointments.

    Courts are no better.

  21. Jason Togneri


    It depends. Of course you're likely to get defraued, especially on tech items, but look carefully at the auctions and the sellers. If you don't try to buy 16GB flash drives and stick to other, stuff you'll be fine. I've been on eBay since 2004, I have 100% feedback for over 150 transactions, and recently I bought a nice pair of 1957 sixpence cufflinks for somebody who just turned 50, as well as a book from the same year (in as-described condition) and I've also bought spare hinges and some memory for a laptop. Yes, I've had very small defraudings most times (usually on mis-described items), and in those cases, about 75% have been genuine sellers willing to do an exchange or return.

    Yes, the world is full of fraudsters, but please don't make it easier for them by being a brainless twat. Use a little common sense (and staying away from the .com and sites helps, although try getting a .de seller to post outside of Germany... ouch).

  22. Anonymous Coward

    For D.A. - NI NOT in UK

    Actually you are incorrect. The UK is England, Scotland and Wales. If you look at your passport and look at the correct manner of saying it we are the "UK and Northern Island".


  23. Martin Benson

    There is some ridiculous tosh in the comments here...

    The vast majority of them seem to be "I was scammed, so eBay is crap". Has no-one ever explained that anectodal evidence proves absolutely nothing at all? The worst is the person who claimed that "eBay fraud is more the rule than the exception". Funny that - I have a feedback rating of 300+ with no negs or neutrals, and I have only had reason to give out a neutral rating twice (and no negatives). Doesn't sound like the rule rather than the exception to me. And I tell you what, the proportion of good experiences I've had is significantly BETTER than my experience in most retail shops.

    You've got to remember where you're shopping. If you go down the local market, you don't expect the same sort of experience as you get at Harrods.


  24. Derek Duval

    At last

    @Jason Togneri - how true. Don't blame eBay for the fraudsters, blame society and their brainless victims with their something-for-nothing attitude.

    I'm fed up of hearing people bleating on about how they've been scammed - well, don't be so bloody stupid then.

  25. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    A credit card is your friend

    If you want to stop getting defrauded then just use your credit card via the paypal service. It is what I do. Any problems and the money is not returned, speak to your credit card company. Paypal would then have to fight with the seller to get their money back and you can be guaranteed it will be the only time they will try - when they, not you, are out of pocket.


    To Neil Weller,

    No, you are wrong. England Scotland and Wales is Great Britain (or after successive useless governments, Britain). Add Northern Ireland into the mix and you get the United Kingdom (or UK). Ignore the passport - it is wrong.

  26. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    "You've got to remember where you're shopping. If you go down the local market, you don't expect the same sort of experience as you get at Harrods."

    Never a truer word said. Ever since Fayed took over Harrods has turned into an Egyptian bazzar selling mainly overpriced tat for tourists, maybe he's a bit homesick. Local markets offer much better service and quality.

  27. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    For Neil Weller

    Follow your own advice and look at your passport. You clearly didn't. Of course Northern Ireland is the United Kingdom.

    It's the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. Great Britain being England, Scotland and Wales

  28. David Gosnell

    @ Neil Weller

    Actually, that's the wrong way round. The full title is the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. Great Britain = England, Scotland and Wales.

  29. Sue

    @Neil Weller

    D.A. is correct. My passport says 'United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland'.

  30. Anonymous Coward

    @Neil Weller

    The UK's full title is "The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland". Great Britain is Scotland, England and Wales. The UK is Great Britain AND Northern Ireland.

    BTW, why does your passport say "Northern Island" ?

  31. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @ Neil Weller

    Neil, did you get your passport off a Kiwi on eBay???

    My passport is United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.... not Northern Island...

  32. Christopher Rogers


    Its been generally a good experience for me bar one thing when i bought a stereo for 150quid, didn't receive it, opened a dispute thing in pay pal and got 50quid back. Ebay is going to have to pull its socks up before the general public decides that it is too much of a risk and goes elsewhere (unlike the brilliant minds who read elReg who already know above).

    Can I just say to the twat who came out with "Nah, the PSNI wouldn't pick him up. They are too busy harrassing teachers who talk in the "leprachaun language"." You are an idiot. You and your type deserve to be on the wrong end of a baton round for such biggotry.

  33. Giles Jones Gold badge

    Ebay have stupid practices

    Someone purchased an item from me on ebay, I was suspicious of the purchase (looked like a stolen credit card), unconfimed address (deliberate spellling mistake?). I refunded the purchaser and relisted. Ebay warned me for doing this?

    Basically you have to sell to anyone no matter how dodgy they look, you can't refuse or you may get suspended. No online retailer would send you an item if they thought you were using a stolen card, so why is it different on ebay?

  34. Peter Brown

    For Neil - look again

    Your passport actually says: The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. Before independence of the Republic it would have said United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland.

    Go and read it before replying.

  35. Matthew Robinson


    Go read your passport again:

    The United Kingdom of Great Britain AND Northern Ireland

    GB is England, Scotland and Wales

    UK is GB and NI


  36. Anonymous Coward

    United Kingdom

    The Union referred to in the United Kingdom is the Union between Great Britain and Northern Ireland. Re-read your passport, Neil Weller.

    Great Britain is England, Scotland and Wales.

    The UK is the United Kindom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

  37. Chris

    re: Amazon are not much better

    "The Amazon 'marketplace' seems to be as full of fake memory stick/flash cards and who knows what else as ebay..."

    Believe me if anything Amazon is a lot worse. I check Amazon for games for the kids and if there is a limited edition AND special edition you see LOTS of the cheaper one advertised as the more expensive one in the marketplace.

    What makes me laugh is the fact that if you go to the proper amazon site you can buy the more expensive one for about half the cost of marketplace.

  38. Ken Hagan Gold badge

    What is the country coming to?

    "If you look at your passport and look at the correct manner of saying it we are the "UK and Northern Island"."

    Er, you're thinking of Great Britain. The UK is the larger body. But I have to wonder where this witness thinks he is living? Despite the pretty shoddy experience, if it had been me I would at least have informed the court of my intention to leave. The implication of the report is that he just bunked off.

    That's just impolite, and we don't behave that way in Blighty. I'm shocked. I think the rozzers should nip round to his place one dark night and extract an apology.

  39. Peter Ford

    @Neil Weller : NI *is* in UK

    but not in Great Britain...

    It's "the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland" (not Island...)

  40. mdubh

    Rampant fraud

    Just thought I'd add my name to the list of people who have been defrauded on eBay, and I would encourage everyone with a similar experience to do the same to help reveal the true scope of the problem.

    In my case, the seller never shipped and was soon delisted, but neither eBay nor PayPal responded (beyond the initial acknowledgement) to my repeated requests for an update of the status/resolution of my claim. Fortunately the amount was small.

    @Neil: Actually, if you check your passport, you will find that Northern Ireland is indeed part of the "United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland". So UK yes, GB no.

  41. Chris

    Neil Weller

    Er, no - a UK passport says "The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland".

    Great Britain = England Wales and Scotland

    United Kingdom = England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.

    British Isles = England, Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland and The Republic of Ireland

    It's amazing how many British people don't know the distinctions. I blame the education system, when I were a lad etc etc.

  42. Andy Clyde

    FAO Neil Weller

    Actually the UK is the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. NI is in the UK, but it is not in GB (GB is England, Scotland and Wales).

  43. Ed Jackson
    Thumb Down

    @Neil Weller

    Wrong. It's the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

  44. Bronek Kozicki

    To Neil - NI is in UK

    Neil, Northern Ireland is in the United Kingdom; the unity you described is known as Great Britain. Look are the passport again (if you have UK one), it is "United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland".

  45. Paul Young
    Thumb Up

    I love Ebay, Can't really fault it

    I've been on ebay since Jan 2002, I have bought & sold, all over the world.

    I have only 1 neg feedback against me and that was in retaliation so I don't

    think it counts.

    The American buyers make things interesting as they don't understand I'm

    not living next door to them and can't figure out what "£" means.

    Selling to Americans' is usually entertaining

    My Buying Tips

    1> Always check out the feedback of the person you are buying from,

    2> Always compare with others selling the same thing

    3> Always wait, never buy on impulse

    4> Always read the description FULLY

    I'm currently toying with the idea of selling a 42" Rear Projection TV

    I don't consider it a risk to sell or buy high value items from Ebay


  46. amanfromMars Silver badge

    For Neil Weller.... NI Most Definitely IN UK

    Actually, you are not right.

    United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland is what you can read on a Passport.

  47. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    It just seems to bring out the worst (in) people

    I'm sure that a lot of folks use Ebay very honestly. We do so ourselves. But I was saddened to hear some time ago of an individual in a large IT support company who pulls all of the trashed, changed-out, hardware out of their skip and advertises it as being in perfect working order. Personally I would be very wary of any hardware sold there.

  48. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Sorry, Neil, you're wrong. It's "The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland", England, Scotland and Wales being on the larger of the 2 islands that make up the British Isles.

  49. Roy Stilling

    @NI not in the UK

    Er yes it is, even if some people wish it wasn't. Our passports say "United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland". England+Scotland+Wales = Great Britain. Great Britain+Northern Ireland = UK

  50. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    No real problems

    I've had one bad experience where a deadbeat seller was uncontactable, sold a part I'd won to another eBayer and was generally an arse. I'd paid by PayPal and the dispute was found in my favour (I'd kept all emails, along with communications with the other eBayer who got what I'd actually bid for).

    So long as you switch your brain on and don't do totally dumb-ass things like use money orders, then you should be OK. I also back PayPal with a credit card rather than a back account as that gives me even more protection.

    I normally buy motorcycle parts, DVDs and classic PC parts, so maybe I'm just lucky in that the people I trade with tend to be enthusiasts.

  51. Glen Forde

    For NW

    United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

    Great Britain is England, Scotland & Wales.

  52. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    @Neil Weller - we're technically the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland - so NI is included in UK, but not GB, regardless of what your passport might say.

    I'm with Martin Benson on this. I've had a flawless experience with ebay, in excess of 180 successful transactions all with 100% feedback. The fact is most people that have commented will have done so because they wanted to moan about the fact they've been defrauded. The ones who haven't had problems mostly can't be bothered to pipe up. You're going to get exceptions of poor customer service no matter which shop you buy from, be it Harrods, John Lewis,, ebuyer, ebay, Currys, etc etc. No where is perfect.

  53. David

    eBay and Harrods

    "You've got to remember where you're shopping. If you go down the local market, you don't expect the same sort of experience as you get at Harrods."

    I think it's all the same, the only difference is the likely level of overcharging. The last time I bought food in Harrods it was rotten, the last time I bought a new pen on eBay it was second-hand.

  54. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @ Neil Weller

    It's not UK and Northern Ireland its "United Kingdon of Great Britain and Northen Ireland" so NI is in the UK. Different legal system though like Scotland and England.

  55. Chris

    For Neil Weller

    Sorry Neil, your off on that one.

    UK Passport actually says:

    The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

    Great Britain is Scotland, Wales and England.

    The United Kingdom is therefore Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland, and England.

    Northern Ireland is part of the UK.

    The Judge however was correct, since the Ebay employee had left one country, England and traveled to another (N.Ireland). We are after all a United Kingdom, of many countries. - And this explains why there are English, Welsh, Scottish, and a Northern Irish football teams, rather than just a UK Team.

    Note, not British Team, since this would imply Great Britain

  56. Vinod Raghavan

    @Neil Weller

    Actually I think you'll find that we are in the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. I.e. UK is made of GB and NI.

  57. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    For neil NI is in UK

    The term United Kingdom is short for "United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland" I can't remeber which act of paralment is revelvant but you can see the usage on loads of sites e.g.

  58. Dangermouse

    United Kingdom

    Actually NI is part of the UK - "The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland". "of" not "and".

  59. Paul

    For D.A. and N.W. NI IS in UK

    Actually you are correct. The UK is England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. If you look at your passport and look at the correct manner of saying it, it is the "United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland". Great Britain is the mainland-y bit (plus the odd island like the Isle of Wight).


  60. Greg Williams

    @ Jasgon Togneri

    Trust me, just dealing with German eBayers INSIDE Germany can be a hassle :) Never mind outside it...

    But then, I've never had a nasty experience with anything bought here yet. Some memory I bought from the US site was another matter though.

    It's very much a case of caveat emptor and using common sense anyway... the same would apply to going to a car boot sale or street market really. With large purchases I only deal with people close enough to me that I can go and see it, test etc, pick it up and pay cash.

    If they refuse to allow in-person transactions, walk away. Simple.

    To summarise, some people are almost asking to be ripped off.

  61. TimBiller


    Hmm. I just looked in my passport and the full name is

    "The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland"

    Great Britain is Scotland, Wales and England. NI is, well, NI. Add all four together and you get the UK. So the OP was correct, Exeter and Belfast ARE in the UK.



  62. Christopher Rogers

    @ Neil Weller

    Read your own passport. it says "The United Kingdom of Great Britian and Northern Ireland." NI is therefore part of the UK, but is not Britain. So Neil "Actually you are incorrect."

  63. Pedantic Twat

    @Neil Weller

    No Neil -- you've got it wrong.

    It's the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, meaning that the United Kingdom is made up of GB and NI (and a few other places too).

    Northern Ireland is as much a part of the UK as Windsor.

  64. Anonymous Coward

    RE: Martin Benson

    Actually, I've had no problems with individual item sellers, people selling on second-hand stuff, where I have had issues is with large eBay shops. These are professional businesses and as such I do expect them to apply a minimum level of professional care. The reality is eBay protects them - if you look at the dispute process, the shop can suspend your account and even after you provide proof of purchase the help from eBay is zero to the buyer and all geared towards the shop. And scamming is even easier if you keep the amount below the eBay fraud threshold. Sure, £18 is minor, but if you scam a few hundred people the same way then eBay simply ignores several hundred victims because the individual amounts are below the threshold, and ignores the whole amount which equates to a major fraud.

    And as to the eBay employee - tough if you got bored. This si the whole eBay attitude - it's not my problem, I can't be bothered to help. I'm sure he'd feel different if he was the one being ripped off.

  65. Anonymous Coward

    @Neil Weller

    Suggest you check that more carefully - we are actually the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. Great Britain is England, Scotland and Wales. UK is those three plus Northern Ireland.

  66. Simon Kirby

    re: For D.A. - NI NOT in UK

    Do you actually live in the UK?

    Great Britain is England, Scotland and Wales. The UK includes Northern Ireland.

    The Passport actually says "The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland". (image


    United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland (commonly known as the United Kingdom, the U.K., or Britain)[7] is a country[8][9] to the north-west of mainland Europe. It comprises the island of Great Britain, the north-east part of the island of Ireland and many small local islands

  67. Steve

    Re: For D.A. - NI NOT in UK

    Nope, wrong!

    Northern Ireland is not in Great Britain (which consists of Scotland, England and Wales).

    Northern Ireland is in the United Kingdom.

    The full title of the UK is "United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland"

    (government) web page explaining it :

  68. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Why does my comment need a flippin' title?

    I really have to wonder why so many people are getting scammed on ebay, or if it's really a case of just a tiny, but vocal, minority shouting.

    I've bought hundreds of things off ebay in the past, ranging from Lego, to computer bits, to craft supplies for my wife, and have yet to get scammed...not sure if I've just been lucky, or if I'm just more cautious than most people, but I suspect it's more a case of caveot emptor.

    I've certainly had consistently better service from people selling on ebay than I've had in some high street stores.

    PS - Reg - please get rid of these crappy icons.

  69. Steve


    @Neil Weller

    Wrong. Great Britain consists of England, Scotland and Wales.

    Then there is "The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland" which is what is says on the front of my passport.

    So, NI is not part of GB but is part of UK.

  70. Graham Bartlett

    Not all fraud, but some

    I've done a bit of eBaying. So far I've had one fraud - some bloke sending me a dodgy CD-R instead of the actual software I'd ordered. I got my money back off him though. But I reported it to eBay AND to FAST - no response from either. Ho hum.

  71. Anonymous Coward

    @By Neil Weller

    Mine says United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland

    So the United Kingdom consists of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, hence NI is in the United Kingdom, and not in Great Britain.

  72. Chris Bradshaw

    @ Neil Weller

    Uh - the passport actually reads "United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland". Great Britain is the big island - Scotland, Wales, England. Together with Northern Ireland it makes up the United Kingdom.

    Belfast is in the UK, but not in Great Britain.

  73. Pum
    Gates Horns

    @ Neil Weller - NI *is* in UK !

    UK = Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

    Great Britain = England, Scotland & Wales.

    Our country is called the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

  74. Peter

    Re: For D.A. - NI NOT in UK

    Neil Weller, I suggest YOU look at your passport. N.I. is not a part of Great Britian, but it is a part of the United Kingdom.

    You will find that your passport reads "United Kingdon of Great Britain and Northern Ireland" - the UK is the combination of NI and GB.

    -- Pete.

  75. Anonymous Coward

    NI IS in UK

    "The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland".

    NI is not part of Great Britain but part of the UK.

  76. Simon Kirby

    re: For D.A. - NI NOT in UK

    Guess it took a while for all the other "Northern Ireland is in the UK" comments to appear, I was a bit surprised there weren't any other pedants reading this in the last 4 hours!

    /gets coat

  77. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Moderation queue...

    I think Neil Weller just got pwned, there must have been a lot of messages sat in that mod queue!

  78. Anonymous Coward

    Wow Post Explosion!

    hehe, shows that most of us are educated after all.. Bet neil is cowering now, either that or hes buggered of and will never know how big the hornets nest he stirred was....

    now back to the topic... I aint been scammed on ebay but I have had to wait 2 weeks for an item being sold with buy it now! thats a rip off if I wanted to wait till the end of the auction i would have just bid.. flippin nusances.. tsk tsk...

  79. Tom

    In fairness,

    I have been actively using ebay since 1999, and over the course of several hundred transactions have had very few problems. Where the occasional item has not turned up, I have eventually recieved satisfaction fro the seller or Paypal.

    The thing that I hate about ebay is the abuse of the feedback system. I know of one seller who recieved a huge number of negative feedbacks, including one from me. His immediate response is to neg the buyer, purely out of spite. The result is the innocent party gettig tarred with the same brush as the shyster.

  80. William Clark

    eBay checks

    I have only had one bad ebay experience as a seller when a winner of a bid said he would not pay as I did not take paypal at the time - he had not read the listing properly and did not trust me (his words) with £5 even though I have 100% rating and I am a private seller of 'my old stuff' - no problem, I sold the item to the next bidder. I decided against marking him down as I suspect he was the kind of stupid idiot who would have retaliated.

    As a buyer I always check before I buy/bid if the seller allows you to collect the goods. If the seller does not or will offer no addres - I smell a rat. Also anything over £50 I would not dream of paying for without seeing it first. Pretty basic stuff this.

    I always offer local collection on sales even thoguh 99% of the time people live too far away for the item or it is to cheap to worry about.

  81. Stuart Ross
    Dead Vulture

    Enough with the Bl**dy GB and UK and NI rubbish

    Guys okay for crying out load, I think Neil has the point. Does it really need two dozen eejits telling him the same thing to quantify your existence!!

    To get back OT, Ebay = good but be careful!

  82. caffeine addict
    Dead Vulture


    From 7pm yesterday through 10am today, nothing but people telling Neil Weller that he's an idiot. Come on Reg... either get these comments moderated more rapidly or let existing users post without needing moderation. These comments are crap as a result.

    If anyone actually cares about the UK/GB/NI things any more, check out the British Isles Venn diagram...

  83. Anonymous Coward

    @Simon Kirby

    > From

    > United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland (commonly known as the United Kingdom, the U.K., or Britain)[7] is a country[8][9] to the north-west of mainland Europe. It comprises the island of Great Britain, the north-east part of the island of Ireland and many small local islands

    Which just goes to show the dangers of thinking that Wikipedia is accurate, and that it can be used as a reference... wrong, and wrong.

    "... is a country..." - no, it comprises a number of countries, i.e. England, Scotland, Wales, and a province, i.e. Northern Ireland.

    "...It comprises the island of Great Britain, ... and many small local islands..." - no, because by any grammatical interpretation, this is stating that the "many small local islands" aren't in Great Britain, and clearly they are (there are many hundreds of these in Scotland alone, although I will concede that the owners of illicit whisky stills probably argued for years that the Excisemen had no jurisdiction over them...).

  84. Anonymous Coward

    Strange... the worst experience I have had with eBay...

    ... Involved nothing electronic, but it involved the eBay claims process that took 6 months to complete.

    The rule on eBay is CAVEAT EMPTOR. If it appears too good to be true, then it usually IS. A laptop for £50? Unused? Yeah right.

    When I SELL on eBay I only accept PayPal, I get a proof of posting, and I make sure the item gets there by generally using tracking. When I BUY on eBay, I make sure they accept PayPal, so that I can dispute a transaction if it's fake.

    So far I have yet to be disappointed, although eBay themselves are worse than the sellers ON eBay (as evidenced with my 6 month long claim).

  85. Jess

    Neil Weller's Passport

    Did he buy it on Ebay?

  86. Pedantic Twat

    @Stuart Ross

    They must have been stuck in the mod queue so each 'eejit' thought they were the first to point out Neil's mistake, that's all.

    I, for one, would not have posted a correction if someone else's post had got through before I wrote mine.

  87. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I got ripped off because I deserve it....

    Now the geography lesson is over, anyone else want to whinge about being ripped off? boo hoo poor you!

    If you were in ebay's shoes, would you go out of your way to help and protect the thousands of idiots out there who really do believe they're getting an iphone for £50?

    The best thing ebay could do is have a compulsory IQ test when registering, sub account for you!

  88. Simon Kirby

    @ Anonymous Coward

    That's funny, both the UN and the EU recognise the UK as a country. England, Scotland etc are constituent countries of the United Kingdom.

    "The word country does not necessarily connote political independence, so that it may, according to context, be used to refer either to the UK or one of its constituents."

    Although wikipedia does contain inaccuracies, it has been shown to be largely as accurate as many other sources.

    Of course, if you think the above article it wrong, feel free to edit it yourself.

    In the geographical sense, Great Britain is the largest Ireland of the British Isles. The small Islands are a part of the British Isles, and the UK, but not Great Britain.

    Right, that's enough politics and geography. It's after midday on a Friday and I'm not in the pub yet....

  89. andy gibson

    Just shop wisely

    If you use Ebay to buy second hand tat, you're generally ok. But don't go buying new kit thinking you're getting a bargain.

    The online marketplace is very cut-throat with profit margins at rock bottom. If you see a product cheaper than play, tesco online, amazon, 7dayshop, scan and all the other major players, you have to ask if it's too good to be true.

  90. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Paypal updated their T&C a couple of years ago and sent an email asking me to confirm that I agreed with the new ones. The new T&C consisted of 19 PDFs and a shedload of pages. I don't have time to wade through that amount of crap just so that Paypal can claim immunity for anything they do, so I decided to close the account. The "close account" section of Paypal's website refused to work because I hadn't agreed to the new T&C. It took a couple of months to get that sorted out.

  91. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    re: If eBay were a P2P network they would be shut down ?


    P2P crime costs money for big corporations*.

    eBay fraud makes money for at least one big corporation.

    * yeah, yeah, I know; but it's not me making the laws.

  92. Anonymous Coward

    re: I got ripped off because I deserve it....

    Can we have the IQ test for other things as well? Driving a car, being able to vote, posting on the internet.....

  93. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    Paul Weller

    Let me be the first to point out that Neil Weller etc and so forth.

    I choose Paris Hilton as my avatar, because I am sure she has plenty of experience with selling goods and services, particularly services.

  94. C Ridley

    @Neil Weller

    Look what you've started here...

    A typo on his passport? Or a piece of dirt?

    Maybe his says 'United Kingdom of Great Britain, and Northern Ireland' ?

    Oh, and the icons just have to go.

  95. Shinobi87

    get of your high horses

    Stop being such moronic parts, saying its peoples own fault for getting scammed. Fair enough you have to be careful, however the matter of fact is, that eBay as the company offering the auction services should ensure that everything is above board, just in the same way if you went to a shop and went wow that Rolex is cheap bought it and found out its fake you would expect to get your money back. Have you never heard of false advertising companies can be sued over it. So in the same way if someone is lying about what they are selling they should be ousted shamed and made to return the money. Perhaps there should be a new system where payments are held in papal until the product arrives (all mail would be sent recorded delivery) the user then has a day or so to check it out and if dissatisfied return it (again recorded delivery) before money is taken out/returned. This would benefit papal in more ways than one as they could use the money much in the same way banks do with your savings until it’s needed! Also id likes to add shut the hell up about the UK passport :|

  96. Mark

    credit cards and ebay

    Well a crdit card isn't always worth it. If the item is cheap, they won't pay out (in one case [the last time I owned a credit card in fact] I was told that I could persue money back through the courts. Pointing out that I could do that without a credit card too so why should I use them didn't change their tune).

    Using PayPal doesn't work either (the escrow option) since they don't consider themselves a bank, so if your money goes AWOL, you're stuffed again.

    Oh, and I reckon that ebay should be responsible for goods undelivered. If the good doesn't turn up (and is proven to be paid for) then ebay should get the goods instead. OK, so some protection of ebay against people abusing this to get cheap goods and scamming them will be needed.

  97. Ed chappell


    Its makes me smile when people whine about getting ripped off on ebay, I use the following rules and have never had a problem.

    Rule 1 If the deal looks too good to be true then it is a CON!

    Rule 2 see rule 1

    Call me cynical but if something it being sold new for less than 80% of the cheapest online price i can find ( google products is a gem!) then its a scam!

    For second hand kit i never pay more than 50% of the new price, never spend more than £50 and never buy stuff from outside the UK. A good rule of thumb is if they use a stock pricture then its a con, if its photographed on the kitchen table / desk then atleast the item might exist!

    I also steer clear of any listing that seems to be very carfully worded to give the impression that something works, without actually saying so. The old " i don't have the charger so can't turn on the phone to check it" ploy usually means its been dropped in the bath or something and is totally knackered! another good one is "powers up but can't seem to make calls etc" oh so its been stolen and is blocked from the network then?

    It makes me giggle when i watch muppets bid over the new price of things like phones and ipods, when they don't realise they have absolutly no protection from being ripped off!

  98. Anonymous Coward

    @Anonymous Coward - re: Doctors?

    WTF has eBay got to do with GP appointments, but to correct your point:

    The doctors were probably late for all the other appointments because they were waiting for those that didn't turn up! Besides - when you see a doctor, do you expect them to keep checking the stopwatch and kick you out after exactly 5 minutes? Some patients need more time than others.. so might you one day, but I don't suppose you mind making others wait just as long as you get your full appointment.

  99. tim

    How do you get scammed by so much?

    If I was buying something as expensive as some people seem to get ripped of by, I would definatly be doing more research and probably going to pick it up myself?

    I'm another one of those that has 200ish positive transaction under my belt, both selling and buying. (books, Lego (yeah me too!) model railway stuff, even low value jewellery stuff) One thing got lost in the post (it was delivered to my work PO box and the tracking showed it as being signed for by the person that collects the mail, but I never got it. Not the sellers fault)

    I've bought from Germany, never had a problem getting them to deliver to me, but they don't like PayPal and IBANs are stupidly expensive from the UK so I usually just send cash (yes real Deutchmark/Euro notes!). It always worked out OK.

  100. Anonymous Coward

    @Neil Weller

    Read your passport again. Great Britain is the union of the countries of Sweden, Burundi, and Azerbaijan, even though that's a city, not a country. The United Kingdom refers to Great Britain AND Sesame Street. You retard.

  101. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Using El Reg icons makes you impotent

    What we need is a set of standard El Reg comments that the moderator can add automatically, as required by the content of the article, for example:-

    Mention of eBay or PayPal: I bought a 25Gb memory stick from a seller in China for £1.50 and it was only 256Mb, eBay told me to get lost, thieving scumbags.

    Mention of the RIAA: the music companies are a) all that stands between us and a future without music b) a bunch of thieving scumbags.

    Mention of P2P or AllofMP3: people who use them are a) leading the revolution in the way we consume music b) a bunch of thieving scumbags.

    Mention of any part of the UK: last time I looked <place> was in The United Republic of Turkmenistan and Outer Mongolia. Oh no it isn't. Oh yes it is.

    Mention of any problem with Windows: I don't have these problems as I use Apple/Linux. Steve/Linus is having my baby, MS are thieving scumbags.

    Anything on music by Andrew Orlowski: Why don't you allow comments, you .. you girl?

  102. Phil the Geek

    Be careful out there...

    I'm a long-term eBayer with >200 feedback and 100% positive. I've had some great bargains and I've sold stuff I would have otherwise thrown away. I've only had to leave negative once. I've had three disputes, all successful. So what are the Secrets Of My Success?

    Don't trade outside the UK

    Only use PayPal or cash on collection

    Don't buy from low feedback/poor feedback sellers

    Check feedback is for meaningful transactions, not penny ebooks

    Read ads and small print carefully, ask questions even if they're stupid

    Avoid cheap commodity items

    When you sell, get proof of delivery or at least of posting

    Assume the worst about everyone and cover yourself, but...

    Treat everyone with respect - communicate politely and frequently

    eBay/PayPal will only help if everything is black and white - so make sure it is

    Neil Weller - you've had your 15 minutes. Not as good as being Paul Weller eh?

  103. Anonymous Coward

    You pay VAT so small claims court your friend

    Title says what I think on how you can deal with Ebay issues.

    The court system would of allowed the Ebay employee to make a sworn statement before a judge - call affidavit(sic) iirc.

    Also a video link via videoconferencing would be doable as all courts have at least a ISDN link enabling a Videoconferencing link afaik.

    The date would of been set, so if the ebay employee wants to blantantly risk the wrath of the courts, then he did the right thing.

    Most Judges I've seen and dealt with are very down to earth bottom line - take no shit types. Think pensioners in supermarkets - they know what they want, they know how to get it and how it should be done - mess with any of that and they will not hesitate to tell you and put you in your place.

    So why oh why did this Judge not get the employee back on the plane at least - my faith in judges is wondering here as we expect British judges to be arragant to the truth and fact that he didn't makes more news than had he got the plane turned around.

    Should of tried the case in France - then he would be guilty until proved innocent. though personaly I so prefer (as would alot of Judges) the Scottish system of Innocent/guilty and the extra verdict of not-proven for when the Jury would be on the fence and a default not guilty would prevail.

    Can have a burglar come to court and have 3 previous cases against him but if he had 50/50 evidence yet you suspected he was guilty in the UK he would go free yet in Scotland he would get a not-proven.

    Anyhow - Ebay transactions pay VAT and as such whilst alot of people moan and complain that fact gives you alot more rights than you thought. I see a future in online transaction legal companies soon. Least get them away from silly patent land perhaps and prove more valuable to the world community as a whole.

    But bottom line:

    1) you paid VAT

    2) Ebay brokered the transaction

    3) Ebay has UK based office

    boils down to take Ebay to court and let them waste there time and stress on catching the crooks. Maybe then they will take it as seriously as they subscribe too.

  104. Gerald Wilson

    mostly harmless...

    ..but frauds do happen. After 100 happy trades - mainly tech stuff - I bought a "new" laptop. Except it wasn't new. Seller was passing off used (but recent) stock as "new" - hence jacking up price by 20%. A nice scam if you can run it. A trawl through seller's history showed that he had this nasty habit (as well as having multiple online identities). I followed all eBay's permitted dispute procedures. Got nowhere with them. Got neither help nor interest from eBay. Finally got my money back from seller by threatening recovery through the courts.

    But eBay themselves were utterly useless. Their own feedback records showed that this guy had been ripping buyers off for an age. They didn't want to know. They didn't want to help. They didn't want to shut him down. Let's face it: eBay's interests (more sales = more commission = more profits) are in direct conflict with users' interests (remove fraudsters = fewer sales). So why would eBay care?

    Ah well. Caveat emptor.

  105. Michael


    "...eBay as the company offering the auction services should ensure that everything is above board, just in the same way if you went to a shop and went wow that Rolex is cheap bought it and found out its fake you would expect to get your money back..."

    This analogy isn't terribly accurate, as eBay isn't the entity that sold the item.

    If you used an IRC channel to allow people to bid for your item, would it make any sense at all to hold the IRC server responsible if you scammed the buyer??

    Should I be able to hold the government responsible for my traffic accident, as it was they who paved the road thus giving my car and someone else's the opportunity to collide??

    Earlier this week, most Reg readers were perturbed that the tv-links guy was hauled off, being as he's just the middleman, providing the means, and was not the actual purveyor of goods. Now you want to point the finger at eBay??

    Furthermore, if I agree to host a tupperware party in my home, for my friend who sells the stuff, you buy stuff from them, but they never deliver, is it MY responsibility??

    How many other examples do I need, to show how completely stupid it is to blame eBay for the shady actions of some of its users??

  106. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    eBay balance

    Just to balance things up a little, I've been buying computer parts, peripherals and consumables from all over the UK, Europe and the States for years with only one memorable incident which eBay handled satisfactorily.

    (I bought a set of reference manuals, only to receive an unmarked CD containing badly scanned PDFs of said manuals. eBay stomped the guy pretty quick.)

    The only people I've ever had an real problem with are the bloody freight companies who mess you about with deliveries, and worst of all UK customs who charge extortionate duty on the imagined value of second hand goods (aided and abetted by the afore mentioned freight companies who simply pay the fee and then hold your goods hostage until you give up querying the fee and pay up).

  107. Rick Brasche
    Thumb Up

    been using eBay for three years.

    a few hangups and glitches in communication, all sorted out tho thru the sellers and buyers. Only two serious problems, one of misrepresentation which the seller actually cleared up when i started asking legal questions:) and one scam where I lost $20. After thousands in transactions in both directions, things have been pretty decent.

    been using PayPal the whole time too.

  108. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Almost harmless

    "A trawl through seller's history showed that he had this nasty habit (as well as having multiple online identities)."

    Really is a good idea to do the trawl through the online history before buying, not after.

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